From 1977 through 1986, the Feminist Lesbian Social Group printed an informal free calendar announcing potlucks and other lesbian events. In the fall of 1986, the group decided to expand this into a much more extensive newsletter, keeping the calendar but expanding the articles to include all kinds of topics and perspectives by lesbians. A modest subscription fee and ad sales financed the new publication, which was renamed ENTRE NOUS (French for “Between Us”) and debuted January 1987.
The original staff included Henri Bensussen, Joyce Loewy, Linda Spencer, Rose Sebastian, Vera Vallentin-Pride and others. For the next 15 years many dedicated volunteers published this labor of love. The mailing parties themselves became a cherished social event.
ENTRE NOUS provided an opportunity for lesbians to speak out in print in a free-wheeling format. News, profiles, book and movie reviews, discussions of controversial issues and much more were contributed by a large number of talented writers. The very first issue listed 14 local groups for lesbians, from Outdoor Adventure for Women, SOL (Slightly Older Lesbians), and the Women’s Caucus of High Tech Gays. Flipping through the years, the articles include: “Was Claire of the Moon” a good movie, or not?” “Was Emily Dickenson really a lesbian?” “Coming out to the Cleaning Lady” “Will I Be a Bag Lady when I Retire?” “Gender Redefinition” (an early 90’s article where Henri Bensussen argued that lesbians should embrace transgendered people) and the ever popular “Pet Issue – featuring lesbians who look like their pets” – and so many more.
Over the years Henri Bensussen stepped aside as editor. Successive editors were Mary Trounstine, Bettie Owen and Deb D’Spain. Cartoons and illustrations from Liz Burkhouse-Sutherland and Wanda Hale enlivened the issues. At its height, the publication grew to 16 – 24 pages, and had about 500 subscribers. Sisterspirit also sold individual copies of ENTRE NOUS.
Circulation began to decline in the 1990s, as internet listservs began to draw away readers, and as many events were advertised by private email. Communal potlucks also fell out of favor; they had been a great source of readers, writers, and volunteers – as well as issues to write about. The nascent World Wide Web did not seem like a viable platform for ENTRE NOUS, as the calendars and articles included many names, addresses and phone numbers that the contributors did not want broadcast online. Reluctantly, the group disbanded and the last ENTRE NOUS was published in June 2002.